The ToB, presented by Field Notes, is here!

It's the 2023 Tournament of Books, presented by Field Notes! And it's finals week! Dig in!

New Finds

Writer on the Brink

Expatriate Thomas Kennedy's new novel deserves your immediate attention. That's it.

Book Cover Such are the caprices of the book world that the intersection of art and commerce occasionally produces interesting distractions and ambiences (sic). Given the Darwinian forces (natural selection?) at play in the publication of books (more so with literary fiction), there are frequent efforts to advance a back story in the struggle to get much-coveted attention for a particular book.

In the case of Thomas Kennedy, it is relevant to note that though he has a substantial body of work (20-plus books, hundreds of stories, essays, poems, translations, photographs, and interviews spanning a quarter-century and a couple hundred magazines and anthologies), you have not heard of him because 1) he apparently had resigned himself to being a small press author, and 2) he has, for the past 30 years, lived in Copenhagen, doing good work with NGOs and Copenhagen’s Rehabilitation and Research Centre for Torture Victims.

Which brings me to the matter at hand, namely his newly published opus, In the Company Of Angels (Bloomsbury), a potent narrative elegantly told of two damaged souls struggling to heal themselves and perhaps each other.

Set in Copenhagen, Chilean exile Bernardo Greene has barely survived his imprisonment and torture at the hands of U.S.-supported dictator August Pinochet’s thugs (Nardo’s family was not so lucky), but has a reason (I leave you to discover it) for the hope to live on. Greene is being counseled at the Center for Torture Victims when he crosses paths with strikingly lovely Michela Ibsen, herself a longtime victim of marital abuse.

Book lover Jonathan Yardley (linked above) has noted this fine book (no doubt the New York Times will anoint him a major writer by his 30th book), concluding:
In the Company of Angels—I leave it to you to discover the explanation for the title—is powerful and of the moment.… I didn’t detect a whiff of political or ideological posturing in it. Kennedy writes clean, evocative prose, and an occasional note of humor leavens this dark novel. He is a writer to be reckoned with, and it’s about time the reckoning got underway in the country of his birth.
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